Internal Deadline
Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 3/21/2024

Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative pharmaceutical products to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono Pharmaceutical carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

The Ono Pharma Foundation was established to support academic research in relevant scientific fields, which have the potential of making significant impact on therapeutic approaches to disease. The Foundation’s competitive awards program, the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), is the embodiment of the Foundation’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

Annually, the Ono Pharma Foundation considers proposals from PIs for research that could ultimately transform human health. Although additional areas of research may be added in future years, in 2024 the Ono Pharma Foundation will only consider proposals for scientific research projects addressing the following field of science:
Chemical Biology Research

Each Nominating Institution may nominate up to two (2) applicants in Chemical Biology Research. 

Potential applicants should consult with Steve Murray, Foundation Relations ( before applying.


  • Duke Internal: Feb. 4, 2024
  • Required Letter of Intent: Feb. 15, 2024
  • Invited Proposal due date: May 9, 2024
Areas of Interest

o Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified by the Ono Initiative. Subjects of interest include but are not limited to:
• Modulating interactome and cell/tissue crosstalk with chemical induced proximity
• Manipulating biomolecular condensates and protein quality control systems
• Deep understanding and emerging applications of chemical glycobiology
• New concepts of drug delivery and localization to tissue/cell/organelle

o Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field are deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements. Letter of Interest (LOI) and final Proposals from applicants not meeting the requirements listed below will not be considered.

• PIs applying must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years.
• The PI must have an MD and/or a PhD degree.
• The PI must be a new applicant to the Ono Initiative, or, if they are a returning applicant, must be applying for a project different from the one they previously proposed.
• The PI must be a young and/or mid-career scientist (15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position).
• The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation. • The PI may not apply for funding to amplify current work. However, PIs may research a new idea based on a prior finding of the PI.
• The PI must not be a healthcare professional (defined as individuals currently holding an active state license for which they are (a) qualified to prescribe, administer, use or supply any medicinal or medical products or (b) perform any professional clinical services). A PI with an MD but without an active state medical license is still eligible.
• PIs serving on a healthcare formulary or similar committee are not eligible.

Amount Description

Applications comprising laboratory investigation will be considered. Project duration may last up to three years with annual funding of $300,000/year, totaling a maximum of $900,000 for the normal term of a research project.

The Ono Pharma Foundation will provide up to a maximum of an additional 15% ($45,000) per year of the funding to be used for indirect costs of the PI’s institution. The total amount of the three-year grant would be up to $1,035,000.

Three Awards are planned for 2024, contingent upon Ono Pharma Foundation appropriations and the submission of sufficient meritorious applications.

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

NIH Biosketch of project leader (including current/pending grant support)
1 - 1.5 pg. statement of “Vision for Proposed Research"

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code: ILN)

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials:

Funding Type